With so much content saturation on the web, you may wonder what new genres in the music industry could possibly hold our attention captive—since we all have media attention deficits these days. Well, what if we told you we met with and interviewed John Bartmann and other band members from the group PRAVDA from Cape Town South Africa, and they happen to love jazz?
How could jazz possibly find an important niche in the digital era, you ask? The word PRAVDA means “The Truth” in Russian. And apparently, the artists of PRAVDA represent the new capital T truth of the jazz world—since their particular sound is a maniacal blend of not only jazz, but electronic, and classical music—they even claim that their particular jazz scene is #futurejazz. Detractors like to bemoan, “jazz is dead.” If that is so, PRAVDA is hoping to resurrect it in the most original fashion.
“We're #futurejazz! It's a made-up word but it totally sums us up. Mostly jazz inspired, with beats inspired by house, bossa nova, drum, and bass. It's a great genre. We have no competition. We are the only ones in our category. That's why we do what we do.”
How did it all start?
In 2005 the core member John Bartmann got back from working on a student visa in the US. During that time he was writing and drawing a lot of comic art and one of his favorite characters was an invisible floating head called Pravda23.
“That was sort of a helping hand, a ghost that only I could see, like Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes. I used this figure and the name Pravda (which means "The Truth") to begin a committed journey to create the best music I could with my limited creative ability.”
The band itself has gone through several stages of its development and currently there are no fixed band members—except for John, who acts as the central music director and depending on the requirements of a particular gig or event, or the production requirements of a new record, a rotating cast of instrumentalists make their artistic contributions as needed. But of course, there are some musicians who have made huge contributions to PRAVDA’s success and collaborated on records and toured with PRAVDA, namely the level headed gentleman Django, a DJ-producer and high-octane drummer. Gareth, also known as “the good doctor,” who jams on the saxophone and is an extremely talented instrumentalist with anything that can produce sound waves!
Just like their music, every band member is a unique individual piece of a complicated puzzle, whose individual contributions to the band’s ingenious sound is hard to overestimate. Everyone who contributes are committed to making music and trying to carve their niche in the “futurejazz” genre. John, Gareth, and Django let their music consume their souls. Listening to them play live convinces you that they have truly found their soul’s calling—their nirvana, jamming out to “futurejazz”—they’re clearly in the pocket.
What does it mean to be a musician?
It’s a common belief that being a musician is the easiest job in the world. In reality, it is a demanding and unrelenting career choice that requires a lot of resilience to stress and patience. Just to become a musician brings the constant realization that there are no guarantees of the successful career in music you idealized when you set out on your journey. Once you see success as a burgeoning musician, new hurdles appear over and over again. The struggle of composing new music, the struggle to convince people to attend your concerts and gigs, marketing your particular brand and sound in a way that resonates with a potential fan base—are all very real struggles for musicians.
“(When we set out as musicians), many of us don’t realize how much of self-doubt and uncertainty you may have when you’re trying to balance your personal life and stage life, and thoughts about how to share the content in a way where you can not only financially profit, but also be satisfied that you didn’t “sell your creative soul” just for record sales.”
In any event, there are, of course, moments that bring a musician intense satisfaction.
“These moments are the ones that keep us going. Live engagement and really communicating with your listeners is probably the most beautiful things that a musician can experience.”
What listeners may not understand that musicians do understand at a deep level is the synergy between band members when they’re “in the pocket.” This synergy is difficult to explain but it tends to amaze the performers when they’re “vibing” so high in this creative space which often feels “otherworldly.” It’s a very difficult feeling to describe to listeners, and when trying to communicate with your bandmates afterward about how they felt the performance went, they have a very difficult time putting it into words. “It's the closest thing I have to church these days,” says John Bartmann.
Do you have any struggles in the music industry? What do you do about it?
Each PRAVDA member is a confident and hardworking person. Nowadays, the band constantly works on finding new material. They create as much of new content as they can. Naturally, one of the biggest struggles in the industry is to be heard, gaining the exposure you need while still needing to be connected to a streaming service. There is a lot of content in the digital streaming era.
“The important thing is to continue mining the earth for your own unique voice. This is only achieved through constant output and (detaching) from your work. So, I write. Every day. I don't expect praise for my work. I don't really let trends influence my work too much. I have a very deep-rooted self-belief.” says John Bartmann
Other than that, it is vitally important not to forget who you are as an artist and not to imitate anyone else. It is one thing to be inspired by someone but imitating other people in your genre or scene is definitely not the best way to achieve your own brand and maintain authenticity.
“Making something real that matters to people is the only way to stand out and remain in the hearts and minds of your true audience. Do you! ” says John Bartmann
How do you use Pindify?
In 2019 PRAVDA will be using Pindify as their primary distributor, with premium content
first being published on Pindify and then six to eight weeks later they will publish their content on other media platforms.
“We're already linking to our Pindify portfolio using our mailing list. But the aim is not large numbers of fans. It's high integrity of fandom.” says John Bartmann
Pindify is honored to have PRAVDA as a part of our community where fans and followers support their favorite artists. And where Pindify Providers can be heard and get paid doing it.
Be Heard. Get Paid.